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One Thousand Years of Seals

Seal designs were not static over Byzantium’s long history. Changing iconographies are a visual journey through Byzantine civilization as the empire became increasingly Christianized, grappled with the role of icons, and sought the aid of the heavenly hierarchy. The script on seals also evolved, from Latin to Greek, from monogram to linear text, and in epigraphic style. 

In both chronological distribution and design, the 17,000 Dumbarton Oaks seals are representative of the total surviving worldwide corpus. As such, we can use this collection to show quantitative, iconographic, and epigraphic trends from the fifth to fifteenth century.


Exhibit Items